How’s it going, Mane Landers? It’s been a rather busy week for me, but I’m starting to find a routine that helps find time for reading and relaxing. I’m currently devouring The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake and strongly recommend it if you like dark academia settings. Before we dive into today’s links, let’s wish happy birthdays to Orlando City forward Jack Lynn and former Lion Joao Moutinho!
NWSL Draft Set for Tonight
The NWSL Draft will get started at 6 p.m. today, with the league’s 12 clubs aiming to add talented young players ahead of the 2023 season. It’s going to be a busy night for the Pride as they have seven selections in this draft, including the third overall pick. There are many mock drafts out to predict which players will land where, but most are in agreement that Angel City FC will select Alyssa Thompson with the first pick and NJ/NY Gotham FC will choose Michelle Cooper with the second. Still, the Pride will have many great players to choose from with the third pick. The NWSL’s mock draft has two-time NCAA champion Emily Madril taken by the Pride to strengthen their defense, while Just Women’s Sports predicts the Pride will select Florida State’s Jenna Nighswonger. Left back Reyna Reyes and attackers such as Clara Robbins and Izzy D’Aquila are other notable names the Pride could call tonight.
Charlotte Adds a DP & More MLS Transfer News
Orlando City isn’t the only Eastern Conference team adding firepower to its offense before 2023. Charlotte FC has signed Argentine forward Enzo Copetti as its third Designated Player. Copetti scored 21 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions for Racing Club and joins a Charlotte offense that includes Karol Swiderski, Nuno Santos, and Kamil Jozwiak.
Speaking of forwards, Kei Kamara stated on Twitter that he has requested a trade away from CF Montreal, the ninth MLS team he’s played for. The 38-year-old is a proven scorer in this league and there are many clubs who could use a veteran forward, including Orlando City.
Inter Miami signed veteran left back Franco Negri from Godoy Cruz in Argentina’s top flight. If Godoy Cruz sounds familiar, it’s because Negri and Orlando’s Martin Ojeda were teammates there before coming to MLS. This could add an interesting wrinkle to the Tropic Thunder rivalry matches this year. Clubs also solidified their goalkeeping units, as Atlanta United signed Clement Diop to a one-year deal, Real Salt Lake extended Zac MacMath’s contract through 2024, and the Chicago Fire added Jeff Gal from Sweden’s top flight.
OL Reign Re-Signs Megan Rapinoe and Trades for Elyse Bennett
United States Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe re-signed with OL Reign on a new contract through the 2023 season. Rapinoe has been with the Reign since the NWSL’s inaugural season back in 2013, re-signing on the 10th anniversary of her allocation to the team. The Reign also made a move for the future, trading away $150,000 in Allocation Money to the Kansas City Current in exchange for forward Elyse Bennett and a late second-round pick in today’s draft. Bennett was selected seventh overall in last year’s draft and recorded three goals and two assists for the Current in her rookie season. I’d suggest that the Pride’s general manager look at this trade as a solid example of how to spend allocation money, but there is currently no Pride general manager for me to tell.
Carabao Cup Semifinals are Set
Manchester City was ousted from the Carabao Cup after a 2-0 loss on the road to Southampton. Sekou Mara gave Southampton a lead in the first half and then Moussa Djenepo scored a nice shot from distance to double that lead soon after.
SOUTHAMPTON 2-0 MAN CITY— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 11, 2023
WHAT A GOAL! pic.twitter.com/rN0cgmaQAV
Manchester City brought Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne on in the second half, but Southampton put in a great defensive effort to prevent City from getting a shot on goal. Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton had to go to penalty kicks after a 1-1 result, with Nottingham winning 4-3 in the shootout. The two-legged semifinals will take place later this month. Nottingham will square off against Manchester United while Southampton takes on Newcastle United.
- Enjoy these photos of the Lions while they continue their preseason training.
- Make sure to take note of these important NWSL dates this year
- There are plenty of talented MLS free agents still out there. Forwards Ola Kamara and Will Bruin could bring some depth to Orlando’s front line. I also find it interesting that veteran goalkeepers Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson haven’t been signed by a club yet.
- The Portland Timbers named Ned Grabavoy as their general manager. Grabavoy has spent the past four seasons as Portland’s technical director.
- Previous reports have said Christian Pulisic will be out for “weeks” with his recent knee injury, but Chelsea’s Graham Potter officially stated that the USMNT star will be sidelined for up to two months. That’s up to eight of those previously reported “weeks.”
- Lionel Messi scored in his first game with Paris Saint-Germain since winning the World Cup.
- AC Milan was eliminated from the Coppa Italia after a 1-0 loss to Torino at home. Torino was down a man after a red card in the 70th minute, but scored in extra time to beat Milan and reach the quarterfinals.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!